Alpacas die at Tennessee high school, teacher cited

WTVF

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A teacher in Middle Tennessee was cited for animal cruelty after several alpacas were found dead at Raider Farm at McGavock High School.

According to WTVF, Jessie Lumpkins, an agriculture teacher, was cited for animal cruelty after Metro Animal Care and Control received several complaints about the farm.

Director of the animal care and control, Lauren Bluestone, said an inspection showed multiple animals had the wrong food and water. MACC officials said they had been called there on several occasions.

"No water, improper food as well as the cleanliness of the enclosures.”

Lumpkins responded in a statement: “McGavock High School and MNPS teams have been in contact with a veterinarian and Metro Animal Control officials to ensure the animals are healthy and that the program fully complies with all local laws and ordinances. We are working closely to ensure the animals are properly fed, watered and cared for. We are deeply saddened by this, and are committed to operating a safe and effective pre-veterinary studies program at McGavock.”

Lumpkins told WTVF that someone jumped a fence in late January and fed the alpacas food meant for chickens, and that the incident was caught on camera. Within two days, two of the alpacas died after getting sick. Weeks later, two more passed away.

They were named 'Chaco', 'Lola,' 'Pekka,' and 'P.K'. after local hockey stars.

"The situation with that person was dealt with," Lumpkins said, "and I don't anticipate that it will happen with that person again."

Animal control has received several complaints about the farm.

Bluestone said, "Complaints came in fairly vague, that the animals were not cared for properly, upon inspection we did find issues with the general care of the animals.”

Metro Nashville Public Schools issued a statement:

"MNPS officials are reviewing the pre-veterinary program, including whether the program’s administrators have properly planned and budgeted for its long-term sustainability, including checking any arrangements for regular veterinary care...
We are deeply saddened by this situation, and MNPS school officials have conferred with Metro Animal Control, whose officers said Tuesday that they believe that the animals at McGavock are not in imminent danger and are currently being cared for properly."

"We put enough food out there to keep them healthy, and keep them fit," Colby Chapman, student and FFA president told us Tuesday. "That way they're not overeating because they will eat until they can't eat anymore."

A local vet and students were able to save one alpaca named Sam. He's been taken to a local farm where he used to live to be with other alpacas.

"We'll take the summer to make sure the fence is properly secured," Lumpkins said. "We do want some of those cameras where I'll be able to see what's happening all the time on my cell phone so that way we can take on another herd and build it back up."